Donnie Fowler Scandal Worsening; DNC Going to Prosecute?
by CentrismIsForLosers, Wed Feb 02, 2005 at 06:34:55 AM EST
Former presidential candidate Howard Dean may not be the front-runner after all in the race for chairman of the national Democratic Party. A committee of state party chairmen will announce today it's backing a rival candidate Donnie Fowler, who headed John Kerry's presidential nomination campaign in Michigan.
The 37-year-old Fowler is the son of former Democratic National Committee chairman Donald Fowler of South Carolina.
From The State, South Carolina's newspaper:
The executive committee of the state chairs had endorsed Fowler on Sunday, but the full committee ignored the recommendation and backed Dean.
"We gave him a punch yesterday, and he gave me a counterpunch today," Fowler said. "The other candidates were unable to get in the ring."
Read on to see how this bragging is literally the most chutzpah-laden thing you can imagine.
Democrats wrangle over campaign funds
By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
LANSING, Mich. -- The Democratic National Committee and state party officials in Michigan are fighting over $8 million meant to help Sen. John Kerry's failed 2004 presidential bid in the state.
The DNC has demanded an audit of the state party's books because its donors want to know where the money went. The request has been turned down, with Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer arguing that an audit is unnecessary.
"We don't see a need for it. But we're happy to answer any questions that they may have," Brewer said. "There was nothing wrong that was done. That's why there was no need for an audit."
Brewer said the complaints against him are really an attempt to tarnish the Michigan director of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, Donnie Fowler, in his campaign for DNC chairman.
"It's my belief that this is nothing more than a smear against Donnie Fowler, and the only reason this is being raised is because he's become a candidate for DNC chair," Brewer said. "If this was such an important issue, why did we not hear about it for over two and a half months, until Donnie becomes a serious candidate for DNC chair?"
Former presidential candidate Howard Dean has emerged as the front-runner for DNC chairman as several candidates, including former Rep. Martin Frost of Texas, have dropped out.
Fowler declined to return phone calls Tuesday, but he recently issued a statement in which he tried to distance himself from the Michigan campaign spending dispute, saying he and other Kerry-Edwards state directors did not manage or set up tracking processes for campaign budgets because of federal laws.
DNC spokesman Jano Cabrera said the committee will keep pressing Michigan party officials for an audit. "When people donate to the DNC, they expect that money will be used wisely," he said. "That is why it is our policy to make sure there's financial accountability for those funds."
The DNC initially gave the state party $7 million. The weekend before Election Day, officials in Michigan asked for more, and the DNC gave them another $1 million.
Democratic sources in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Brewer had told the DNC that the coordinated campaign was at least $2.5 million in the hole. They also said he threatened to shut down the campaign - and cost Kerry Michigan's 17 electoral votes - if he didn't get the money.
"We told them that they were short on the commitment of money that they'd made to Michigan," Brewer said Tuesday. "We needed the money to complete the program, which we had built based on their promises of additional funding."
Brewer said he never threatened to shut down the campaign.
From The Note:
The AP follows up on the dispute between Mark Brewer and the DNC over coordinated campaign funds. LINK
You haven't heard the last of this sidebar, and the DNC has not ruled out some type of legal action to compel Mr. Brewer to hand over the books.
Another example that required patient, deliberate leadership involved money. Shortly before the election, the state coordinated campaign had a funding dispute with the DNC just as the final get-out-the-vote push was getting started. For background purposes, a coordinated campaign brings together Democrats and many allies in order to avoid duplication of efforts and create efficiencies of scale. In Michigan, the 2004 coordinated campaign included candidates for the state house of representatives, the state supreme court, constituency groups, the Democratic National Committee, and the presidential campaign. It raised and spent both soft money and hard money. Because of soft money legal restrictions on federal campaigns, Kerry/Edwards state directors did not manage or set up tracking processes for budgets even though they had an obvious interest in the integrity of the finances.
There are two sides to every story, and the same was true here. The DNC stated that it had provided all the money it had promised to Michigan, while the Michigan coordinated campaign argued that the DNC had not kept its funding commitment Because I had long-standing relationships with both Washington and Michigan's leadership, I was able to act as a go-between. Working together with the DNC and MI CC leadership, the dispute was resolved to the satisfaction of all involved, and the campaign went on to the successful conclucsion described earlier. Let me be clear, though. It took the will and the patience of everyone involved to arrive at a solution, so everyone, not just me, deserves credit for the result.
Donnie's denying any involvement in the scandal. But he was able to 'act as a go-between'? Interesting.
Some other things to note about Donnie Fowler:
- He fixed the vote in the ASDC executive committee meeting along with Mark Brewer in MI.
- He is the son of a former DNC Chair.
- He claims he has 'nearly' twenty years of grassroots experience on his web site, but he is only 37. This despite the fact that he worked at the FCC for three years, and a large lobbying outfit called 'Technet' for three years. Technet, incidentally, lobbies for corporate tax cuts, not expensing stock options, and outsourcing tax credits. Donnie's excuse is that he worked the Democratic side of the aisle. This despite his comments: "Mr. Fowler says his organization wants to make sure it elects moderates of both parties who are pro-growth and high-tech."
- Wesley Clark fired Donnie after two weeks on his campaign, after which Donnie wrote a public letter blasting the candidate.
Since Donnie claims to be a netroots guy, maybe he'll come on here and address these concerns. He tends to rah-rah and not actually address questions, but maybe we'll get lucky. Here are some questions for him to answer:
Did you and Mark Brewer cut a deal to cover up the missing Michigan money? Many have been stumped with your closed door victory over clearly more qualified candidates in the Sunday executive committee vote. Did Brewer help throw the vote your way, making a bet that with you there the ongoing DNC investigation into the missing millions would stop, since you are deeply involved in this emerging scandal?
Will you go back to Michigan after the DNC campaign and help Mark Brewer look for the money? Are you planning to cooperate with the DNC, the FEC, the IRS and the Michigan Board of Elections in their investigations of the missing money? Have you hired a lawyer yet to represent you in the coming investigations?
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